Keir Starmer says he does not have 'magic wand' to give Nottingham City Council more cash

The leader of The Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, pictured during his visit to Hucknall Town Football Club in the middle of a crowd in the stands. Lilian Greenwood is stood behind him
-Credit: (Image: Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post)

Keir Starmer has explained why he will not give Nottingham City Council more cash if he becomes Prime Minister despite saying people are "entitled" to services now being slashed in the city. The Labour Party leader says he would be repeating the economic mistakes of Liz Truss if he was to promise more money for cash-strapped councils like Nottingham.

Labour says other reforms it would make to local government would ease pressures, but Sir Keir has told local reporters he does not have a "magic wand" for short-term fixes. Nottingham is staring down the barrel of library closures and other service cuts across the city as part of brutal budget measures approved by the city council in March, months after it effectively went bankrupt.

The Labour-run council continues to face multi-million pound shortfalls in funding over the coming years and despite mistakes of its own, most notably Robin Hood Energy, the authority says funding cuts since 2010 have had a far greater impact. The council's core spending power has been cut by 34% since the 2010/2011 financial year when adjusted for inflation, falling from £514.1 million to £342.1 million in 2023/24.

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It is also having to rely more heavily on increasing council tax and the authority has already said it would be "prudent" to look at tax rises above the current 5% cap next year. Yet speaking during a visit to Hucknall Town FC about his message of change, Sir Keir confirmed that councils would not get increased funding from a Labour government in the short-term.

Asked to explain why, the Labour leader told Nottinghamshire Live: "The Tories have damaged the economy very badly and we learnt from Liz Truss what happens if you make unfunded commitments, in her case tax cuts, but it would be the same for spending.

"In the end, it's working people who pay the price through higher prices and higher mortgages." Sir Keir said that banning no-fault evictions to take pressure of Nottingham City Council's homelessness team would be one way his government would ease the pressure.

That pledge comes as the council pauses the advertising of its housing to clear the hundreds of homeless families currently stuck in hotels and B&Bs across the city. Sir Keir also said he would introduce multi-year funding settlements, so that councils like Nottingham know how much Government money they will get over several years instead of every 12 months, as is currently the case.

More broadly, Sir Keir added that stabilising the economy will make a "material difference" to councils and that he will start his reforms to local government "on day one" if elected after the July 4 election. Sir Keir's visit to Nottinghamshire on Tuesday (July 2) took place with less than 48 hours to go until people begin going to the polls.

Attending his visit to Hucknall Town FC were local Labour stalwarts including Lord Vernon Coaker and Paddy Tipping. Candidates including Lilian Greenwood and Alex Norris were also in attendance, as well as East Midlands Mayor Claire Ward.

It marked Sir Keir's second visit to Nottinghamshire during the general election campaign, in contrast to Rishi Sunak who has not made any official campaign visit to the county outside of the BBC's Nottingham debate. Sir Keir said on this: "'You should vote Tory because...' is an unfinished sentence and will remain unfinished because their record is so appalling.

"Chaos, division and failure and a campaign that's been chaos, division and hopefully failure. I'm not surprised he's not showing up, because he's got nothing to say."